East Anglia Covers Up Their Trick on Channel Four

Yesterday, I reported that the University of East Anglia had refused to release attachments to Climategate emails, attachments that would confirm that Wahl and Briffa had knowingly violated IPCC rules on review comments. Their excuse was, in effect, that Wahl and Briffa had agreed their violation of IPCC rules would be done in secret and the University was obliged to honor this compact.

The University had an additional consideration in withholding the document as it also covered up a trick by the University on Channel Four earlier this year, which resulting in Channel Four pulling coverage of IPCC rule violations by CRU and Eugene Wahl. This trick has not been previously reported and I will do so today.

Earlier this year, Channel Four planned to run a story on Keith Briffa breaking IPCC rules in his exchanges with Eugene Wahl. They asked the University of East Anglia for a comment. Cat Bartman, Press Officer, Marketing and Communications Division, University of East Anglia sent Channel Four the following reply:

Dear xxx,

Regarding your earlier queries, please find below a response from Prof Keith Briffa:

“I confirm that I requested an opinion from Dr Wahl on how I intended to respond to reviewers’ comments on one draft of the IPCC AR4 Chapter 6. My request was motivated entirely by a desire to give fair consideration to the opinions of specific critical reviewers. Dr Wahl had detailed knowledge of a particular issue and to my knowledge, seeking his opinion of my response to the reviewers, as distinct from any specific text in Chapter 6 itself, was both justified and allowable under IPCC rules.” [my bold]

Kind regards
Cat
Cat Bartman
Press Officer
Marketing and Communications Division

Because this response seemed “legitimate” to Channel Four, they “pulled” discussion of IPCC rule violations from their piece. I was asked to comment after the fact and gave them a detailed commentary, but by then the University had succeeded in killing Channel Four coverage of IPCC rule violations.

Let’s leave aside for now (1) Briffa’s self-serving claim that he was “motivated entirely” by a desire to be “fair” to McKitrick and I; and (2) whether seeking Wahl’s input on review comments was “justified and allowable under IPCC rules” – both of which I contest. Not even Briffa had the chutzpah to suggest to Channel Four that it was “justified and allowable under IPCC rules” to seek Wahl’s opinion on “specific text in Chapter 6 itself” – since, inter alia, the period for submission of Review Comments was closed; Wahl had not registered as an IPCC reviewer; Wahl was not a Lead or Contributing Author; IPCC had other procedures for authors seeking to be “fair” e.g. consulting Review Editors.

And yet there is compelling evidence that Briffa did in fact seek Wahl’s input on Chapter 6 text. And these are the documents that the East Anglia has just refused to disclose.

On Tuesday, July 18, 2006 (1153470204.txt), long after the period for Review Comments had expired, Briffa sent a copy of the then current version of Chapter 6 to Wahl for his comments (Wahl was not then – nor even now – registered as an IPCC reviewer. This attachment is shown in the Climategate email as Ch06_SOD_Text_TSU_FINAL_2000_12jul06.doc.

On July 20, 2010 (see 1153470204.txt), Wahl reverted with suggested alterations to Chapter 6, noted in the Climategate emails as the attachment Ch06_SOD_Text_TSU_FINAL_2000_12jul06_ERW_suggestions.doc.

In the email, Wahl refers to his own “brief suggested alteration to page 6-3 of the draft text” on the basis that Wahl-Ammann “decidedly settles the issue”:

I have added a brief suggested alteration to page 6-3 of the draft text you sent, to take into account the fact Wahl-Ammann decidely settles the issue concerning how proxy PC calculations impact the MBH style reconstruction. These changes are encoded using WORD’s “Track Changes” feature.

This correspondence disproves the claim by Briffa and the University of East Anglia that Briffa’s consultation was limited to seeking Wahl’s opinion on his “responses to reviewers, as distinct from any specific text in Chapter 6 itself”.

My recent FOI request asked for these documents. The University of East Anglia refused.

I think that I know what language Wahl inserted into the Final Draft. It was language that dramatically changed the IPCC assessment of the MBH dispute in favor of Wahl’s interpretation, as compared to the language sent to external reviewers in the Second Draft. Wahl’s changes to the IPCC assessment on a very controversial issue were never submitted to external review. They have been relied upon by climate scientists in framing their understanding of the MBH dispute, including, for example, Julia Slingo’s recent testimony to the Parliamentary Committee.

In the IPCC Second Draft as sent to external reviewers, Briffa (not exactly an impartial assessor) had nonetheless assessed the MBH dispute as follows – I’ve bolded the assessment finding which Wahl appears to have changed:

McIntyre and McKitrick (2005a,b) raised further concerns about the details of the Mann et al. (1998) method, principally relating to the independent verification of the reconstruction against 19th century instrumental temperature data and to the extraction of the dominant modes of variability present in a network of western North American tree-ring chronologies, using Principal Components Analysis. The latter may have some foundation, but it is unclear whether it has a marked impact upon the final reconstruction (Von Storch et al., 2004; Huybers, 2005; McIntyre and McKitrick, 2005).

Obviously, Ross and I thought that this assessment gave insufficient weight to our actual findings – even to points on which there was no dispute, such as the failure of key MBH verification statistics, a point that even Wahl and Ammann had grudgingly acquiesced in. Nonetheless, being realistic, we didn’t expect IPCC to concede the day of the week and could understand the statement that the outcome of the dispute remained “unclear” in an assessment in spring 2006.

Remember that this assessment was prior to the Wegman Report (published July 14, 2006) and the North Report (published June 22, 2006) and the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearings (July 17 and 26, 2006), which endorsed key points of our articles – including our findings on PC bias, that strip bark bristlecones should be “avoided” in reconstructions, on verification statistics. North was asked under oath whether he disagreed with any of Wegman’s findings and said that he did not. Both these reports were properly submitted to IPCC within the July window for additional citations, but neither were cited on these points. In supplemental answers, Wegman went so far as to say that the Wahl and Ammann article (being relied on by IPCC) had “no statistical integrity”.

Notwithstanding these opinions from blue ribbon panels, the IPCC assessment in the published Fourth Assessment Report stated:

The latter may have some theoretical foundation, but Wahl and Amman (2006) also show that the impact on the amplitude of the final reconstruction is very small (~0.05°C; for further discussion of these issues see also Huybers, 2005; McIntyre and McKitrick, 2005c,d; von Storch and Zorita, 2005).

This was obviously a dramatic change to the IPCC assessment – and not one based on evidence from the Wegman Report or North Report. In the Second Draft, the assessment was that the impact was “unclear”. But the Fourth Assessment Report came down strongly on the side of Wahl and Ammann (and MBH). It seems evident to me that this change resulted from Wahl’s “brief suggested alteration to page 6-3″ – apoint that could be proven through examination of Ch06_SOD_Text_TSU_FINAL_2000_12jul06_ERW_suggestions.doc.

This changed assessment – based entirely on language inserted into the Fourth Assessment Report by Wahl and Briffa in violation of IPCC rules – was relied upon by Julia Slingo in her recent testimony to the Parliamentary Committee, in which she said (Parliamentary Committee Evidence; see discussion at CA here ):

The controversy around the original methods of Mann et al has been fully addressed in the peer reviewed literature and I think those issues are now largely resolved.

Channel Four’s story would have exposed the violation of IPCC rules by Wahl and Briffa. So the University tricked Channel Four – a trick being considered by climate scientists as “a good way to deal with a problem” (Gavin Schmidt).

The University told Channel Four

to my knowledge, seeking his [Wahl's] opinion of my response to the reviewers, as distinct from any specific text in Chapter 6 itself, was both justified and allowable under IPCC rules.

CA readers know that you have to watch the pea under the thimble with the Team, but Channel Four didn’t. Channel Four concluded from this that CRU denied any IPCC rule violations. But watch the pea. They concede that asking Wahl for comments on Chapter 6 text would not have been “justified or allowable under IPCC rules”, leading Channel Four to presume that Briffa hadn’t asked Wahl for comments on Chapter 6 text. But watch carefully – they didn’t actually say that Briffa didn’t ask Wahl for comments on Chapter 6 text. Channel Four didn’t follow up and ask them the obvious question whether they had sought Wahl’s opinion on Chapter 6 text. The trick worked.

Obviously production of the document Ch06_SOD_Text_TSU_FINAL_2000_12jul06_ERW_suggestions.doc would precisely document what even the University and Briffa himself concede would be a violation of IPCC rules. But the University has refused to produce this document – claiming, as noted above, that the agreement between Wahl and Briffa to violate IPCC rules in secret is one that must be honored by the University – a finding that has the added benefit of concealing that the University misled Channel Four into thinking that there were no IPCC rule violations.

37 Comments

  1. philH
    Posted Jun 3, 2010 at 10:19 AM | Permalink

    I wonder if you have forwarded these comments to the Chancellor/President of the University of East Anglia as well as the person who denied your FOI, requesting their response. Surely someone at that institution has some sense of right and wrong. Some integrity. Some decency.

    • Rhoda R
      Posted Jun 3, 2010 at 8:05 PM | Permalink

      Any evidance of that?

      • Doug in Seattle
        Posted Jun 3, 2010 at 8:32 PM | Permalink

        Yes, the leaked emails and files! Have you not been paying attention these past six and a half months?

        • Posted Jun 4, 2010 at 6:52 AM | Permalink

          I’m with Rhoda R. I don’t see any evidence in the CRU files that anyone at that institution has a sense of right and wrong, integrity or decency. ;-)

  2. Geckko
    Posted Jun 3, 2010 at 10:26 AM | Permalink

    I wonder if there is a journalist at Channel 4 sufficiently enraged at being so duped that they might plan a follow up, with the added UK highlight that Julia Slingo misled Parliament on the basis of this violation of IPCC rules and the “trick” played on Channel that prevented these violations from being uncovered.

    I wonder?

  3. kim
    Posted Jun 3, 2010 at 10:46 AM | Permalink

    Geschribben in the usual black and white.
    ============

  4. Ed_B
    Posted Jun 3, 2010 at 11:22 AM | Permalink

    The truth of this matter is incredibly important. Governments are making trillion dollar decisions based on their belief that the “science” is solid. Steves examination of this matter needs to be followed up by the IPCC itself, if it is to have any credibiity at all.

  5. steven Mosher
    Posted Jun 3, 2010 at 11:31 AM | Permalink

    gobsmacked I am.

    Thanks for covering this again Steve. For new readers, Let me put this in an even broader context. Briffa’s violation is act that Jones attempted to cover up with his request to delete mails.

    The thing that has utterly stunned me is the refusal on the part of the press to ask the BASIC investigative questions.

    WHY did Jones request the mails be deleted? In stead of asking WHY, they ask the stupid question “did mann delete them, did briffa delete them. If they asked why? if they understood that something important must have driven Jones to make this request, then they would follow the right trail. the trail to Chapter 6. And Further, why would Jones suggest that people delete mails which he knew Palmer was going to deny access to? If Parliament had a single curious neuron in their collective empty skulls they would have asked Jones these questions.
    “Palmer told you that he was not going to release the mails, and that he thought an appeal on this decision was certain. Did you ask Mann to delete mails to thwart a possible appeal?” If Briffa had not broken the IPCC rules, why would you take such a risky action of asking people to delete their mails?

    • David (he's worse than Deming) Holland
      Posted Jun 3, 2010 at 2:57 PM | Permalink

      Re: steven Mosher (Jun 3 11:31), Mosh,
      As far as I know I was the only one to give an explanation to the Sir Muir Russell’s UEA Email Enquiry of why anyone would email

      Mike,
      Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4?

      I waited and waited but my submission never got published. Eventually a “William” emails me to say their lawyers say if they publish they might get sued and therefore they will not put it on their website. Mostly my submission says nothing that has not been said here, to the House of Commons and elsewhere, but if they dare not publish it, presumably they dare not conclude in public that what I said is true for the same reason. So you can be fairly sure as to what they are not going to say.

      Sir Muir Russell wanted to give a contact email for me but I have declined to let him, if he will not publish my submission or an agreed statement as to why he will not publish it. I have set up a temporary email address crusub@(the biggest supermarket in the UK).net and on a confidential not for distribution basis have sent out probably more copies than the number of people who would have read it anyway.

      Obviously I name names and point to facts in the CRU emails and elsewhere, but I have said nothing that I did not raise with the IPCC on 27 May 2008 (2 days before the Mike email) and recently to Drs Solomon, Overpeck and Pachauri for comment explanation or denial – none of which has happened. I have sent a detailed submission to the InterAcademy Council who are looking into the IPCC procedures and would urge anyone with constructive comments to do the same. If anyone want a confidential copy “for comment and correction” of either submission just ask me.

      David

      • Craig Loehle
        Posted Jun 3, 2010 at 3:35 PM | Permalink

        As I understand it, the libel laws in England do NOT protect you if what you say is true, contra the US. The burden of proof is on the one saying, not on the one who is libeled to prove it false and thereby actionable. Deep pockets win. Thus the bizarre result you report that they won’t print your email.

        • David Holland
          Posted Jun 3, 2010 at 3:43 PM | Permalink

          Re:
          Craig Loehle (Jun 3 15:35)

          Deep pockets win as you say – except where Parliamentary privilege applies. I must say I had missed the Russell Enquiry minute, but nothing surprises me now.

  6. bubbagyro
    Posted Jun 3, 2010 at 11:46 AM | Permalink

    What Nixon did, erasing a tape for which we have no copies, to cover up the Watergate burglary which impacted no one, is so very trivial now compared to this whitewash which affects every human being in the world. Jones, Briffa, Hansen, Mann, et.al. should have at minimum the same penalty – and be forced to resign.
    Exeter, NH USA

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Jun 3, 2010 at 2:56 PM | Permalink

      You will remember that the burglary that got Nixon in trouble was one of his Team’s “dirty tricks”.

      • D. Patterson
        Posted Jun 19, 2010 at 1:59 AM | Permalink

        “Lowellgate” occurred on 18 September 1972 when Cameron Kerry and Thomas Vallely were arrested at 1:40AM by the Lowell, Massachusetts police department on charges of breaking and entering with the intent to commit larceny in an attempt to cut the the telephone lines of John Kerry’s political opponent, DiFruscia. The MSM (mainstream news media) maintained silence on that news story then and again during John Kerry’s presidential campaign. Watergate was afforded the greatest possible news coverage. Lowellgate, previous such illicit activities, and Climategate have been afforded not so much news coverage. Such disparate treatment in both jurisdictions, British and American, merits close attention by anyone concerned about the treatment of free speech for the purposes of science.

  7. Vince
    Posted Jun 3, 2010 at 11:59 AM | Permalink

    OT but of interest to some us, today is the 120th day of the committee investigation at Penn State on allegation 4 of Michael Mann’s research conduct. The committee was given 120 days from February 3 to report.

  8. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 3, 2010 at 3:02 PM | Permalink

    Note that Muir Russell minutes indicate that they now plan to construe their terms of reference to not include anything to do with IPCC. The cover-up intensifies.

  9. svein M
    Posted Jun 3, 2010 at 3:44 PM | Permalink

    “In violation of IPCC rules”. This is repeated ad nauseam, but nowhere has anyone pointed to the specific rule which disallows an IPCC Lead Author to consult with whoever he wishes to in preparing his/her text. Hence the proof of misconduct lies with the accuser. Show us directly which rule is broken with specific reference to the document text that Briffa is accused of having violated. Unless you can do this, this whole post is a long and sad strawman. It would be strange if an IPCC author was restricted to discuss the text he/she is preparing only to those vetted by the IPCC. It is the normal conduct when preparing a scientific text to discuss with your colleagues and seek advice. Why shouldn´t this be the case in IPCC? If not, show where the rules say it cannot.

    • David Holland
      Posted Jun 3, 2010 at 4:09 PM | Permalink

      Re: svein M (Jun 3 15:44), What Rules?

      Rule 1: Paragraph 2 ‘Principles Governing IPCC Work

      The role of the IPCC is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the
      scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of
      risk of human-induced climate change

      Rule 2: Paragraph 3 Ibid

      Review is an essential part of the IPCC process. Since the IPCC is an intergovernmental body,
      review of IPCC documents should involve both peer review by experts and review by governments.

      Deadlines for literature cited in the Working Group I Fourth Assessment Report 1 June 2005

      When the second draft of the AR4 is written authors need to be sure that any cited paper that is not yet published will actually appear in the literature, is correctly referenced, and will not be subsequently modified (except perhaps for copy editing). In practice this means that by December 2005, papers cited need to be either published or “in press”.

      When the second draft of the AR4 is sent to Governments and experts for the second round review, the TSU must hold final preprint copies of any unpublished papers that are cited in order that these can be made available to reviewers. This means that by late-February 2006 if LAs can not assure us that a paper is in press and provide a preprint we will ask them to remove any reference to it.

      “New Guidlines” 1 July 2006

      Reviewers are invited to submit copies of additional papers that are either in-press or published in 2006, along with the chapter and section number1 to which this material could pertain, via email to ipcc-wg1@al.noaa.gov, not later than July 24, 2006.

      You need to read this site and the UEA emails or ask me for a confidential copy of the banned submission if you can’t spend the time finding out for yourself.

    • glacierman
      Posted Jun 3, 2010 at 4:12 PM | Permalink

      Any reply to SM’s answer to your question?

      Still think it is a sad strawman?

    • ianl8888
      Posted Jun 3, 2010 at 4:49 PM | Permalink

      Which of course is precisely why the University will not release:

      Ch06_SOD_Text_TSU_FINAL_2000_12jul06_ERW_suggestions.doc

      And also why Jones tried to have related emails deleted

      Because it was all above board, beyond reproach, and generally reflected the behaviour required of Caesar’s wife

    • Tim
      Posted Jun 3, 2010 at 5:22 PM | Permalink

      svein M,

      It would be strange if an IPCC author was restricted to discuss the text he/she is preparing only to those vetted by the IPCC. It is the normal conduct when preparing a scientific text to discuss with your colleagues and seek advice.

      In court a judge is not allowed to communicate with or seek advice from lawyers for one side without involving the other. This prohibition particularily important if the judge is a friend or collegue of one of the lawyers. This prohibition ensures the process is fair.

      The IPCC rules are structured in a similar way for the same reason. The Briffa is really no different than a sitting judge that colludes with his buddy the procecution lawyer to get a conviction. Briffa’s actions are completely unethical and he should be severely repremanded for it.

    • steven Mosher
      Posted Jun 3, 2010 at 11:18 PM | Permalink

      Gavin made this same brain dead argument.

      Overpeck, the review editor of chapter 6 knew the rules. he explained them to Briffa:

      “From: Jonathan Overpeck
      To: “Neil Roberts”
      Subject: Re: ipcc chapter 6 draft
      Date: Thu, 18 May 2006 15:58:25 -0600
      Cc: Keith Briffa , Eystein Jansen

      Hi Neil – Thanks for your interest in providing feedback on the draft
      chap 6 Second Order Draft. Since the IPCC has very strict rules about
      all this, I’m going to ask them (the IPCC) to send you an official
      invitation to review, along with the process – formal, but highly
      efficient – to follow. If you could send your comments in that way it
      would be a great help. We’ve been asked to keep everything squeaky
      clean, and not to get comments informally.

      Thanks! Peck

      So, I take it that Jones suggested that people delete mails to cover up something that wasn’t wrong? Maybe Jones should have consulted you as you obviously know the rules better than he does. Perhaps, you’d like to read the mail where Jones informs Christy about the rules about deadlines for submissions.

  10. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 3, 2010 at 3:59 PM | Permalink

    The IPCC is required to assess climate science “on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis”. IPCC Procedures http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/ipcc-principles/ipcc-principles-appendix-a.pdf . This document says that “the review process should be objective, open and transparent.” and that

    All written expert, and government review comments will be made available to reviewers on request during the review process and will be retained in an open archive in a location determined by the IPCC Secretariat on completion of the Report for a period of at least five years.

    This precludes secret contacts of the type carried out between Wahl and Briffa – where the comments were not placed in the open archive.

    This requirement is insisted on in its public statements, as for example, a statement on Feb 10, 2010 in response to recent controversies http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/press/role_ipcc_key_elements_assessment_process_04022010.pdf .

    This requirement was known to Briffa and IPCC authors. The need for reviewers to register and to submit through the formal process was discussed in May 2006 in Climategate letter 1147982305.txt, copied to Briffa. Neil Roberts, a prominent climate scientist (and member of the 2006 NAS panel), expressed an interest to Overpeck in submitting comments. Overpeck told him that he’d have to comply with IPCC protocols for submitting Review Comments because IPCC had “very strict rules” and they’d been “asked to keep everything squeaky clean, and not to get comments informally”:

    Thanks for your interest in providing feedback on the draft chap 6 Second Order Draft. Since the IPCC has very strict rules about all this, I’m going to ask them (the IPCC) to send you an official invitation to review, along with the process – formal, but highly efficient – to follow. If you could send your comments in that way it would be a great help. We’ve been asked to keep everything squeaky clean, and not to get comments informally.

    There are provisions in section 4.2.5 for the Final Draft that set out procedures for Lead Authors as well, that I’ll discuss later – off to squash.

    Their conduct provides ample evidence of their awareness that they were breaking IPCC rules. There are repeated insistences on drop-dead confidentiality. Briffa did not even copy Jones on the emails. Jones order the correspondence to be destroyed and told FOI Palmer that Briffa “should say” (untruthfully) that there was no such correspondence. Briffa’s letter to Channel Four notably did not try to claim that Wahl’s secret insertion of language into the Final Draft was “justified and allowable under IPCC rules.”

    • svein M
      Posted Jun 4, 2010 at 1:08 AM | Permalink

      None of this is convincing, and the whole case seems made up as a strawman. As far as I can tell from the rules you quote and Overpeck´s email there is nothing that says you cannot ask anyone for advice. As far as I can tell, Overpeck´s advise is to make sure those commenting do it through the official channel to ensure that the author´s have to respond, i.e. to make sure reviewers are taken seriously. This constructed offense is strange. If you were to be an IPCC author and went to a science meeting and someone came up to you and said that they thought you had misquoted something in the draft. Would you close your ears and not bother about it unless it was also a comment received through the official route? Or would you go back and check regardless?
      The IPCC system seems to be there to protect the rights of the reviewers to be taken seriously, but not to disallow helpful advise through informal channels.

      • Skip Smith
        Posted Jun 4, 2010 at 1:24 AM | Permalink

        So then why did Jones request that everyone delete all records of this correspondence?

      • Layman Lurker
        Posted Jun 4, 2010 at 1:51 AM | Permalink

        As far as I can tell from the rules you quote and Overpeck´s email there is nothing that says you cannot ask anyone for advice.

        Do you work for channel Four?

        As far as I can tell, Overpeck´s advise is to make sure those commenting do it through the official channel to ensure that the author´s have to respond, i.e. to make sure reviewers are taken seriously.

        So please explain then, how Wahl went through “official channels” before suggesting his ammendments to 6-3? Or are you suggesting that this is an “opinion” of Briffa’s “response to the reviewers? IMO Briffa’s response to channel four actually implies that Wahl’s proposed amendment would not be allowed under IPCC process.

        Briffa’s point about seeking opinion from Wahl on his response to reviewers is the “trick”. Just because this might be allowable under IPCC rules does not mean that Wahl and Briffa can bypass IPCC procedure for altering content of chapter 6.

      • Sean
        Posted Jun 7, 2010 at 9:39 AM | Permalink

        “As far as I can tell from the rules you quote and Overpeck´s email there is nothing that says you cannot ask anyone for advice.”

        The flaw in this argument is that it ‘proves too much’. If sending a draft out to a non-reviewer to review is just asking for “advice” and getting comments back which may have been incorporated into the final text is the same as incorporating an unsolicited correction from a scientis at conference, what exactly, in your interpretation, does the rule prevent?

  11. Harry Eagar
    Posted Jun 3, 2010 at 7:09 PM | Permalink

    Heh.

    You may have support for your views in an unexpected place: Deltoid

    ‘Brian Angliss makes the case that it is impossible to understand the emails stolen from CRU without consulting with the authors to find out what the original context was.’

  12. Mervyn Sullivan
    Posted Jun 3, 2010 at 7:44 PM | Permalink

    This whole sorry saga involving the University of East Anglia, and the various inquiries arising from Climategate can be summed up in two simple words… moral corruption.

  13. Fred
    Posted Jun 4, 2010 at 12:41 AM | Permalink

    This entire affair is depressing.

    In all my years as a student and even after as a professional, I always thought scientists were honest and objective. Above personal agendas and principled disciples of science seeking the truth, following the facts wherever they might lead.

    I feel foolish, like a child who has just discovered Santa Claus doesn’t exist.

    I hope science recovers one day…

  14. Chris1958
    Posted Jun 4, 2010 at 3:17 AM | Permalink

    While my comment possibly relates to the earlier post, methinks that the refusal to release documentation because it might cause damage to someone is broadly analogous to ‘taking the Fifth Amendment,’ ie, the right not to incriminate yourself as per common law in other English speaking jurisdictions. While recourse to such a stratagem protects you from the legal consequences of any wrongdoing you might be hiding, you still come out looking shabby. Given the sorry history of this matter, publicising the non-response to the FOI request and the cited reason is the only viable option.

  15. toby
    Posted Jun 4, 2010 at 3:18 AM | Permalink

    This sideshow has become petty and boring. I see nothing edifying in it for anyone. The public do not understand and do not care about obscure e-mails from long ago.

    • Posted Jun 4, 2010 at 8:06 AM | Permalink

      I would completely agree with you if there were no consequences – but there are – gigantic, financial ones – and these the public DOES care about. The ‘sideshow’ therefore becomes edifying for those who go to the enormous trouble of deciphering the activities of those behind these obscure emails from long ago.

    • Kevin Shannon
      Posted Jun 4, 2010 at 10:58 AM | Permalink

      Toby,

      You are entitled to your own opinion but it’s clear that you haven’t been following this whole saga from the start as many others who visit here (including myself) have been doing almost from the start.

      May I suggest you purchase and read Andrew Montford’s book ‘The Hockey Stick Illusion’ and you’ll then understand why what is being discussed here is far from a ‘sideshow’ and why the CRU email’s are far from ‘obscure’.

      Have you actually read any of CRU emails?

    • Harold
      Posted Jun 6, 2010 at 7:06 AM | Permalink

      “I see nothing edifying in it for anyone.”

      Edify – To instruct especially so as to encourage intellectual, moral, or spiritual improvement.

      I think it’s pretty difficult to ignore that the whole discussion is aimed at encouraging intellectual improvement.

      “The public do not understand and do not care about obscure e-mails from long ago.”

      The public doesn’t understand or care about much of science – they tend to leave it to the integrity of scientists and the scientific method, and don’t loose sleep over either the process or results. Luckily, importance is not determined by “the public”.

    • Sean
      Posted Jun 7, 2010 at 4:18 PM | Permalink

      “The public do not understand and do not care about obscure e-mails from long ago.”

      Good point, Toby! Maybe we should move this discussion to a specialist blog? One targeted at people who understand and care about the IPCC process and the science behind it. Maybe … uhm … climateaudit.org?

  16. Rob H
    Posted Jun 6, 2010 at 3:43 AM | Permalink

    I assume you will send the contents of this blog to Channel 4 and ask for a response?

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